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Furniture Retailer Moves to 100% Employee Ownership Model

Room & Board has transitioned to a 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), giving its 1,100 employees a financial stake in the Minneapolis-based company that generates annual sales exceeding $500 million. The retailer also has received B-Corp certification, amplifying its investment in both its employees and environmental stewardship.

“At Room & Board our staff members are at the heart of everything we do,” said John Gabbert, Founder and Chairman of Room & Board in a statement. “Over the past few years, we have explored every possible option for future ownership — from going public to private equity to nonprofit ownership. Becoming 100% employee-owned was the only option that allowed us to stay true to our business values of respect, accountability, transparency and collaboration, and most importantly preserve our company culture.”

The retailer, founded in 1980, has a long history of supporting employees’ well-being, including establishing a company wage of $45,000 for all full-time employees and pioneering same-sex partner benefits more than 30 years ago.

Room & Board’s board of directors has been tasked with providing strategic direction and financial oversight for the company during the ESOP implementation, including Gabbert, President and COO Bruce Champeau, Chief People Officer Nancy Greatrix and CFO Jean Sand, aided by Chartwell Financial.

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